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The Dragon's Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China
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The Dragon's Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Ling-ling joins a revolutionary theater group carrying out reforms in the Chinese countryside in 1949 and amid tumultous events, she grows toward maturity.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 28th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published March 1980)
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Persevere! The first few chapters of this novel may put you off as the writing is somewhat stilted and formulaic. However, once Ling Ling, the book’s heroine, arrives in Longxiang far away from the comforts of Shanghai, this becomes a whole other book and a compelling one at that.

It is 1949 and the Chinese land reform movement has just begun with the communists as modern day Robin Hoods, taking land from the rich to give to the poor. Of course it’s not quite that simple but the ethical argument
I must have had to read this book for a college course I took, but I likely didn't read it fully back then. It was on my bookshelf, so I decided that I'd read it so that I didn't just "waste" a book.

Granted, this was definitely a culturally and historically necessary book, it was just a bit hard to read because it wasn't the most well written. The character development was really poor--I didn't get a sense at all for who Ling-Ling was and it wasn't clear what really motivated her to join the mo
I’m surprised by the low ratings too. I find it difficult to fault a book of ‘autobiographical fiction’ (there’s something very Eastern about that right there), especially one describing such a fascinating, important event. As she emphasizes in the story, this massive social and cultural shift affected 300 million people, at the time a sixth of the world’s population, who had endured thousands of years of feudalism.

Since Ling-ling was a Shanghai society belle when she volunteered to organize pe
There is a minor industry in accounts of the Cultural Revolution, but this is the first novelistic account I have seen of the heady days of land reform just after the 1949-50 victory of the Chinese Communists. The author's foreword states that she participated in the land reform and that "the story is fiction, but it is true." She immigrated to the United States, so I expected something of an expose, but no, there is the usual comedy of city-dwellers sent to the countryside to tell peasants how ...more
Ling Ling lives a life of privilege in China. She lives with her aunt and uncle, who throw parties for the wealthy and powerful set. All around them, they hear that the good life is coming to an end for people like them, that Communism is sweeping the country, and that things will never be the same.

Ling Ling gets swept up into the excitement. When a friend from school asks if she can hide from the police for the night, she says yes, and suddenly she's questioning her upbringing and beliefs. Her
I enjoyed (well, enjoyed is not the best description of a book where everyone suffers - both peasants and landlords in the late 1940's Northwest China)this well written book about the communist takeover in China in the late 1940's written by a woman who experienced it close up. I would have given it 5 stars if the ending had included some kind of epilogue with details of what happened to the author after her work in Gansu (?) Provence was completed. How did she get out of China to the US? How di ...more
An interesting little read about the re-distribution of land in China. The author was there and part of the brigades of young people who gave up, sometimes lavish lifestyles, to live in solidarity with the folks in the countryside.

A pretty easy and interesting read.
May 28, 2009 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys books with historical context
Shelves: history, memoir, asia
I read this book for a women's history class in college, and really enjoyed it. I thought it was an interesting perspective on history that I had never seen before. I'm surprised this book has been rated so poorly on Goodreads.
I couldn't even get through the entire book. I thought it was terrible. The beginning didn't grab my interest, and trying to continue along the story was painful.
had to read it for a college civilization class. i didn't finish it. i might read it again. we'll see.
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